Where did you learn Yoruba? I can't find any good reliable learning sources.
I’m still learning, but to be honest I’m self taught. I started by learning the Yoruba alphabet which can be found on YouTube and its titled ‘Yoruba rap’. I also have told my mum to stop speaking in English to me and that she should speak only Yoruba. I watch Yoruba movies A LOT, and either switch off subtitles and try not to look. I’ll reblog some sources and good websites. Also if you go on Amazon I’ll soon be purchasing a book called beginners Yoruba by Kayode. J. Fakindele (it comes with two cds). Also I listen to a lot of Yoruba music so that helps. Hopefully by next year, I’ll speak very fluently. I’ll list a few phrases below to get you started! Hope this helps!
how are you? bawo lo se wa?
I’m good, thank you mo wa daadaa, e se
and you? ati iwo?b
what is your name? kini oruko re?
my name is Maya oruko mi ni maya
nice to meet you o dara lati pade e
One: eyokan Two: meji Three: meta
Four: merin Five: marun Six: mefa
Seven: meje Eight: mejo Nine: mesan
Ten: mewa First: okan Second: ekeji
Monday: ojo-aje Tuesday: ojo-isegun Wednesday: ojo'ru
Thursday: ojo alamisi Friday: ojo-eti Saturday: ojo abameta
Sunday: ojo aiku Now: nisisiyi Yesterday: ana
Today: oni Tonight: ale yi Tomorrow: ola
Fruits: awon eso Apples: apus
Bananas: ogede Tomatoes: tomati
Potatoes: anamo Onions: alubosa
Red: pupa Green: awo-ewe Blue: awo oju-orun
White: funfun Black: dudu Grey: awo-resuresu
Breakfast: ounje aaro Lunch: ounje osan
Dinner: ounje ale Milk: wara
Coffee: kofi Bread: buredi
Sunny: igba ooru Windy: igba afefe Rainy: igba ojo
Snowy: igba yin-yin Cold: otutu Hot: gbona
Boy: omokunrin Girl: omobirin
Son: omokunrin Daughter: omobirin
Brother: arakunrin Sister: arabirin
Man: arakunrin Woman: arabirin
Father: baba Mother: iya
Grandfather: baba-baba Grandmother: iya-iya
House: ile Toilet: ile-igbonse Room: iyara
Bedroom: iyewu Kitchen: ile-idana Table: tabili
Cat: ologbo Dog: aja Mouse: ekute
Bird: eye Cow: maalu Horse: esin
Socks: ibose Shoes: bata Trousers: sokoto
Shirt: ewu penpe Sweater: ewu otutu Coat: ewu awoleke
English: geesi French: faranse German: jaman
Spanish: spanish Italian: italia Portuguese: potoki
Greek: grik Russian: roshian Arabic: larubawa
Hindi: hindi Chinese: shainis Japanese: japanis
Taxi: oko aje-igboro Bus: oko ero
Hotel: ile igbafe Reservation: ifipamo
Airport: papa baalu Passport: iwe ifuni-laaye
Student: akeko Teacher: oluko Pen: kalamu
Books: awon iwe Page: oju ewe Dictionary: iwe itumo oro
Hand: owo Feet: atelese Hair: irun
Eye: oju Mouth: enu Nose: imu
Ambulance: oko ile iwosan Doctor: onisegun
Hospital: ile iwosan Pharmacy: pipo-oogun
Police: olopa Stomach Ache: inu-rirun
Ife l’akoja ofin: Love is above all.
English Yoruba Phrases
Greeting Mo kiyin
Good morning! Ek'aro
Good afternoon! Ek'asan
Good evening! Ek'ale
Welcome! (to greet someone) Ek'abo
Hello my friend! Bawoni Oremi
How are you? (friendly) Bawo lowa
How are you? (polite) Bawo lara
I’m fine, thank you! Mowa dada, Ese
And you? (friendly) Iwo na nko
And you? (polite) Iwo nko
Not so good Kofibe da
Long time no see Ope ti mo ti rie
I missed you Mos'aro e
What’s new? Kini tuntun
Nothing new Kosi tuntun
Thank you (very much)! Ese gan
You’re welcome! (for “thank you”) Ko t'ope
My pleasure Inu midun
Come in! (or: enter!) Wole wa
Make yourself at home! Ef'okan bale,Ile lewa
Have a nice day! Od'igba
Good night! Od'aro
Good night and sweet dreams! od'aro kosi la ala to da
See you later! mari e ni'gba mi
See you soon! mari e laipe
See you tomorrow! mari e lola
Good bye! Od'abo
Have a good trip! Irin ajo ada o
I have to go Moni lati malo
I will be right back! Mon padabo
Holidays and Wishes
Good luck! Pade orire
Happy birthday! Eku ojo ibi
Happy new year! Eku odun tuntun
Merry Christmas! Eku odun keresimesi
Ei del kabir Eku odun Ileya
Independence day Eku odun ojo ominira
Congratulations! Eku ori ire
Enjoy! (or: bon appetit) Igba dun
Bless you (when sneezing) Epele
Best wishes! Nko rere fun e
Cheers! (or: to your health) Eku araya
Accept my best wishes Gba nkan rere timo fefun e
How to Introduce Yourself
What’s your name? Kini oruko e?
My name is (John Doe) Oruko mi ni (john Doe)
Nice to meet you! Inumidun lati ri e
Where are you from? Ilu wo loti wa?
I’m from (the U.S/ Nigeria) Mowa lati ilu (America/nigeria)
I’m (American/ Nigerian) Omo (America/Nigeria) nimi
Where do you live? Ibo l'ongbe?
I live in (the U.S/ Nigeria) Mongbe ni(America/ nigeria)
Do you like it here? S'o feran ibi?
Nigeria is a beautiful country Orile ede to rewa ni nigeria
What do you do for a living? Ise wo lonse?
I’m a (teacher/ student/ engineer) (Oluko/akeko/ onimo ero) ni mi
Do you speak (English/ Yoruba)? S'ole so ede(geesi/ yoruba)?
Just a little Mole so die
I like Yoruba Moferan yoruba
I’m trying to learn Yoruba Mongbiyanju lati ko ede yoruba
It’s a hard language Ede t'ole ni
It’s an easy language Ede ti kole ni
Oh! That’s good! hehen, Iyen da
Can I practice with you? se mole ko pelu e?
I will try my best to learn Mase iwon ti mole se lati ko
How old are you? Omo odun melo ni e?
I’m (twenty one, thirty two) years old Omo (ogun odun lekan,ogun odun lemeji) ni mi
It was nice talking to you! Mogbadun bi mose nba e soro
It was nice meeting you! mogbadun bi mose pade e
Mr…/ Mrs. …/ Miss… Ogbeni…/ Iya afin…/ Omidan….
This is my wife Iyawo mi niyi
This is my husband Oko mi niyi
Say hi to Thomas for me Bami ki Thomas
Romance and Love Phrases
Are you free tomorrow evening? S'o raye lati ola lo
I would like to invite you to dinner mo fe kajo jade fun ounje ale
You look beautiful! (to a woman) O rewa gan lobinrin
You have a beautiful name Oruko re rewa
Can you tell me more about you? Se ole so si fun mi nipa re?
Are you married? Se oti se igbeyawo?
I’m single Mosi da wa
I’m married Moti se igbeyawo
Can I have your phone number? Se mole gba nomba ero ibani soro re?
Can I have your email? Se mole gba iwe ateranse re?
Do you have any pictures of you? Se oni awon aworan re?
Do you have children? Se oni awon omo?
Would you like to go for a walk? Se ole jeka nase jade
I like you Moferan e
I love you Mon'ife e!
You’re very special! Eeyan pataki ni e!
You’re very kind! Odaa gan!
I’m very happy Inumi dun gan
Would you marry me? Se wa femi?
I’m just kidding Mon sere ni o
I’m serious Mi o selere rara
My heart speaks the language of love Okan mi nso ede ife
Solving a Misunderstanding
Sorry! (or: I beg your pardon!) Ema binu
Sorry (for a mistake) Epele
No problem! Kosi'yonu
Can you repeat please? Se ole tunso jo?
Can you speak slowly? Se ole soro didie?
Can you write it down? Se ole koosile?
Did you understand what I said? Se nko ti mo so ye e?
I don’t understand! Ko ye mi!
I don’t know! Mi o mo!
What’s that called in Yoruba? Kini won npe ni ede yoruba?
What does that word mean in English? Kini itumo oro yen ni ede geesi?
How do you say “thanks” in Yoruba? Bawo lese nso pe"Ese gan" ni ede yoruba?
What is this? Ki leleyi?
My Yoruba is bad Ede yoruba mi da
Don’t worry! Mase iyonu!
I agree with you Mo faramo nko to so
Is that right? Se iyen da?
Is that wrong? Se iyen o da?
What should I say? Kini kinso?
I just need to practice moni lati ko gan
Your Yoruba is good Ede yoruba re da
I have an accent Ede mi fihan pe mi owa lati ilu yi
You don’t have an accent Ede re dabi tiwa
Asking for Directions
Excuse me! (before asking someone) Ejo
I’m lost Mi o mona
Can you help me? S'ele ran mi lowo?
Can I help you? Se mole ran e lowo?
I’m not from here Mio kinse ara ile yi
How can I get to (this place, this city)? Bawo ni mosele de adugbo yi?
Go straight Malo lookan
Turn left Ya si apa osi
Turn right ya si apa otun
Can you show me? S'ole fihan mi?
I can show you! Mole fihan e
Come with me! Telemi kalo!
How long does it take to get there? Ato igbawo k'atodebe?
Downtown (city center) Aarin ilu
Historic center (old city) Ilu atijo
It’s near here Itosi ibi
It’s far from here Ojina s'ibi
Is it within walking distance? Se molerin debe
I’m looking for Mr. Smith Mon bere Ogbeni smith
One moment please! Jo funmi ni iseju kan!
Hold on please! (when on the phone) Ejo monbo
He is not here Ibi kis'ebi ( kosi nibi)
Airport Papako Ofurufu
Bus station Ibudoko
Train station Ibudoko oko ojurin
Emergency Survival Phrases
Help! Egbawa o!
Watch out! (or: be alert!) Egbara di
Call the police! Epe olopa!
Call a doctor! Epe dokita!
Call the ambulance! Epe oko tongbeyan lo si ile iwosan
Are you okay? S'owa daada!
I feel sick Ara mi oya
I need a doctor Moferi dokita
Food poisoning Majele ounje
Where is the closest pharmacy? Ibo ni ile oloogun oyinbo to sunmon ju?
It hurts here Eeyan nsese nibi?
It’s urgent! Ogba kiakia!
Calm down! Fara bale!
You will be okay! Ara re aya!
Can you help me? Se ole ranmi lowo?
Can I help you? Se mole ran e lowo?
Hotel Restaurant Travel Phrases
I have a reservation (for a room) Motigba yara kan sile
Do you have rooms available? Se awon yara wanle?
With shower / With bathroom To ni baluwe
I would like a non-smoking room Mofe yara ti won ti kin mu siga
What is the charge per night? Elo ni owo re fun ale kan?
I’m here on business /on vacation Mo wasibi fun ise/ fun isinmi
Do you accept credit cards? S'e n gba owo ni ona kaadi
I’d like to rent a car Mafe lati ya oko ayokele
How much will it cost? Elo lo ma na mi?
A table for (one / two) please! Ejo tabili fun eyan (kan/meji)!
Is this seat taken? Se wan ti gba aye yi ni?
I’m vegetarian Ounje elewe lemi nje
I don’t eat pork Mio kin je elede
I don’t drink alcohol Mio kin mu oti
What’s the name of this dish? Ki'loruko ounje yi?
Waiter / waitress! Adani loun!
Can we have the check please? S'ele fun mi ni iwe sowedowo na?
It is very delicious! Odun gan!
I don’t like it Mi o feran e
Shopping Expressions Ise nibi nkan rira
How much is this? Elo leleyi?
I’m just looking Mo kan nwo ni
I don’t have change Mio ni sanji
This is too expensive Eyi ti won ju
What time is it? Ago melo lolu?
It’s 3 o'clock Ago meta lolu
Give me this! Fun mi leleyi!
Are you sure? S'o da e loju?
Take this! (when giving something) Gba eleyi!
It’s freezing (weather) Otutu gan nibi gan
It’s cold (weather) Otutu nibi
It’s hot (weather) Ogbona nibi
Do you like it? S'o feran e?
I really like it! Moferan gan!
I’m hungry Ebi npa mi
I’m thirsty Orungbe ngbe mi
He is funny Apani lerin ni
In The Morning l'owuro
In the evening N'irole
At Night L'ale
Hurry up! Se kia!
Cuss Words (polite)
This is nonsense! (or: this is craziness) Kantan kantan leyi!
My God! (to show amazement) Oluwa o!
Oh gosh! (when making a mistake) Mogbe!
It sucks! (or: this is not good) Eyi oda!
What’s wrong with you? Kilo ndamu e?
Are you crazy? S'onsiere ni?
Get lost! (or: go away!) Kuroni'waju mi!
Leave me alone! Fimi sile!
I’m not interested! Ko wunmi!
Writing a Letter
Dear John John mi owan
My trip was very nice Irin ajo mi dara
The culture and people were very interesting Asa ati awon eyan yi daa gan ni
I had a good time with you Mogbadun igba ti molo pelu e
I would love to visit your country again Mafe lati wa si orile ede re si
Don’t forget to write me back from time to time Magbagbe lati mak'owe simi ni gbogbo igba
Short Expressions and words
So-so (or: not bad not good) Koda kobaje
Me (ie. Who did this? - Me) Emi
Him Owun (okunrin)
Her Owun (obinrin)
When? Nigba wo?
Why? kilo fa?
O!: Placed at the end of sentences for emphasis and effect E.g. I go broke bottle for yua head O!
Oba: Traditional ruler. Also Olu, Ovie and Sultan.
Obey the wind: Skinny, Very underweight individual.
Obioma: See Mobile tailor.
Obito: 1. All night wake.
Objectiv: Multiple choice examination.
Obobo canda: Light skinned person.(Derogatory).
Obokun: 1. Cat fish 2. Mercedes Benz limousine
Obrokotor: Obese person.
October rush: Frantic chasing of female freshmen (Jambitoes) in Nigerian universities by senior male students.
Odeku: Large bottle of Guinness stout.
Odu: Shady business.
Odudoof: (Derisory) Overweight individual.
Ofofo: Yoruba word for Gossip.
Oga: Person in charge. Also Oga pata pata.
Ogbele o!: Goodness gracious! See Ye pa!
Ogboju: Bluff your way through. See Bold face.
Ogbologbo: Old hand
Ogbono: Soup made from ground Ogbono seeds, crayfish, beef, dried fish, okra, spinach and pepper.
Ogi: Pap made from corn. Also Akamu.
Ogogoro: See Apketeshi.
Ojare: Said at the end of sentences for emphasis. E.g Comot for road Ojare!
Oje marina: Big lie.
Okada: 1. Name of Nigerian Airline. 2. Motor cycle taxi. See By air.
Okirikpotor: 1. Eczema. 2. Dermatitis.
Okpetu: 1. Trouble 2.It has happened!
Okporoko: Stork fish.
Okrika wake up: Second hand clothes. Also Gorgio Amadi.
Ol'boy: Yo my man.
Ole: Theif. Also Teif.
Olofofo: Gossip ( Yoruba word). Also Tatafo and Amebo
Olopa: Police officer.
Omi ni polish: Patent leather shoes.
Omo: 1. Child 2. My friend 3. Popular detergent powder.
Omo ale trousa: Literally means Prisoner’s trousers i.e. Trousers that barely reach the ankles. See Jump up pee. Also called Michael Jaskin.
Omolanke: Labourer for hire who carries goods in a large custom made wooden wheelbarrow.
Omoge: Fine girl. Also Chinani, Chickito, Gboyen, Si si and Babi.
Omota: Ruffian or rude boy.
One day one day: One of these days. Used as a warning for those involved in dodgy acts e.g One day one day monkey go go market e no go come back meaning everyday foe the thief one day for the owner.
One kain: Odd E.g Dat guy dress one kain.
One thousand and four: Popular block of flats in Lagos Island.
Onioburu: Night soil man. Also Agbepo.
Opari: It is finished.
Opeke: Good looking girl. See Omoge.
Open eye: 1. Wise up. 2. Become sexually active.
Open mouth: 1. Talk e.g Abeg no open mouth laik dat.2. Astonishment e.g Ol’ boy, the way dem spray money nyanfu nyanfu for dat party, Omo na so I open mouth.
Open ya sense: Use your intelligence.
Operation: Armed robbery.
Operation sweep: ( Defunct) Special police anti-crime task force.
Opon: Yoruba word for prominent forehead. Also Crash helmet.
Oppressor!: Owner of big car.
Osa straight: Molue. Literally means Straight into the lagoon. Called so because of accidents involving Molue Buses plunging into the lagoon in Lagos.
Otopiapia: Rat poison.
Over-graduate: Postgraduate student. (As opposed to undergraduate).
Over stone: Disallowed goal when stones are used for goal posts and the ball goes directly above the stone.
Owambe: Yoruba word meaning it is there, denoting a lavish party with live music.
Owo: Urhobo soup made from palm oil, dried meat and fish, crayfish, potash, pepper, cassava starch and Egidije. Also called Oil soup.
Oyinbo: 1. Caucasian 2. English 3. Big English words.
Oyoyo: 1. Good times 2. Jollification.. See Ariya.
A whole.. Used when a man of substance is belittled e.g See how mobile police trash the guy, a whole managing director for dat matter
Abi?: Is it not?
Abi na wetin!: What is it?
ABU: Amadu Bello University.
Acada: 1. Intellectual 2. University student 3. Book worm.
Acata: 1. USA or UK 2.Someone who lives in those places.
Acting big man: Deputy exercising power in the absence of the boss.
Adire: Dyed cloth.
Adonkia: contraction for I don’t care attitude
Afang: Efik soup made from Afang leaves, beef, dried fish, crayfish, palm oil, and periwinkle.
Afraid catch me: I was scared.
Afta much:Inebriated after much alcohol.
Agaracha: Woman of easy virtue.
Agbada: Large traditional garment usually worn by men over a shirt.
Agbepo: Night soil man. (See - Onioburu).
Agbero: Labourer who carries heavy goods for a fee.
Agip: Any Government In Power. Derisory term for person who changes alliances as goverments come and go.
Ah-ah: For goodness sake.
Aircon: Abbreviation for air conditioner.
Ajasco: Dancing with fanciful footwork. Also called Ajasco Toronto.
Ajebota: One used to butter; rich spoilt kid. See Ajepako.
Ajepako: Literally means -one used to eating wood i.e. uses a wooden chewing stick as toothbrush.
Akamu: Pap made from corn. See Ogi.
Akara: Bean cake made from fried ground black-eyed beans.
Akara school: Nursery school.
Akata: 1. Recent arrival from abroad (especially UK or USA) into Nigeria
2. Nigerian nickname for an African American
Alaba: Abbreviation for Alaba International Market, Lagos. Famed for the sale of electrical goods.
Alan Pozza: Poser.
Alau him: Give him a break.
All na: It is all a .e.g All na wayo.
All night: Night vigil.
All Weda: Shoes worn all the time, come rain come sunshine.
Along!: Shouted when hailing taxi cabs in some states in Nigeria.
Am: Used in place of 'him’ or 'her’ in sentence e.g. 'Warn am O!’
Amala: Dough like meal made from yam flour and hot water. Usually served with Ewedu soup.
Amebo: 1. Gossip 2. Name of a character in a Nigerian soap opera (The village headmaster), with a penchant for gossiping.
Amugbo: One habitually smoking Indian Hemp. (Marijuana)
And Co: Wearing the same clothes or fabric with someone else especially married couple.
Andrew: One wishing to emigrate out of Nigeria. Term originates from government sponsored advert in which the main character - Andrew threatens to ‘check out’ of the country due to various hardships.
Angola: Prison. Also Angola.
Animal and Sontin: Elephant and Castle (in Southeast London).
Any attempt!: Don’t even think about it!
Anyhow: 1. Shoddy 2. Inappropriate
Akpere: 1. Basket 2. Bad goalkeeper in soccer match.
Apoti: Yoruba word for small stool
Appear: 1. Arrive unexpected usually to something good such as a meal. Host will then say 'you waka well o’. 2. Arrive uninvited.
Apketeshi: 1.Illicit gin. 2.Native gin. Also called Kai Kai, Ogogoro, Push me-push you, Sapele water and Burukutu.
Apkroko: Gossip. See Amebo.
Apku: Cassava flour. See Fufu
Apollo: Conjunctivitis. (an epidemic swept Nigeria around the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing hence the name)
Arrange yua sef: 1. Make your own arrangements 2. Everyman to himself.
Arrangee: 1.Soiree. 2. Exclusive 3.Preplanned set up.
Area boys: Unemployed street-wise youth loitering in the neighbourhood. Also called 'Alaye boys’ in Lagos.
Area girls: Female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Ariya: Good time.
Aro: 1.Abbreviation for large psychiatric hospital in western Nigeria. 2. Lunatic.
Aromental: 1. Lunatic 2. Eccentric personality. (See Mentalo).
As: How it e.g. 'Tell am as e take happun’.
As for: That’s the way it is.
Ashewo: Prostitute. See Agharacha.
Askology: Sarcastic reply to irritant question. Also- Askor.
Aso oke: Tradition Yoruba fabric worn on special occasions. Means Upper class cloth.
At-all: Not at all. Also- At-all ah-tall.
Atachee: 1. Hanger on 2. Social climber forcing themselves on the in-crowd
Attachment: Small stool placed along the aisle of luxurious buses for passengers who can’t afford proper seats.
Aunty: Any older female. Used when first name terms not appropriate.
Awoko: Burning the midnight oil.
Awoof: Freebie. Without charge. See FOC.
Away: Foreign especially Europe and America.
Away Baffs: Imported clothes from Europe and America; especially designer labels. See Sputs, kack and Sputeez.
ewọ ife - forbidden love.
Nose: E mu
Mouth: E nu
Ear: E ti